Spanish GP: Bottas leads FP1 by nearly a second

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Spanish GP: Bottas leads FP1 by nearly a second
By: Scott Mitchell
May 11, 2018, 10:36 AM

Valtteri Bottas dominated the opening practice session for Formula 1's Spanish Grand Prix as Mercedes established an early advantage over Ferrari.

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF71H
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB14 with aero sensors
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL33 nose and front wing
Lance Stroll, Williams FW41 crash
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB14 with aero sensors
Robert Kubica, Williams FW41
Pierre Gasly, Scuderia Toro Rosso STR13
Nico Hulkenberg, Renault Sport F1 Team R.S. 18
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL33
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H
Robert Kubica, Williams Martini Racing
Esteban Ocon, Force India VJM11

The Finn lapped 0.849s faster than teammate Lewis Hamilton, with Sebastian Vettel another tenth back in the best Ferrari despite using supersofts to the Mercedes drivers' softs.

Max Verstappen split the Ferraris on medium tyres, but his Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo had an early finish after going off at Turn 4.

Bottas and Hamilton established a Mercedes one-two early in the first half an hour broke into the high-1m18s on soft tyres, a feat nobody else managed over the rest of the session.

Ricciardo was third fastest initially, more than a second behind Bottas's early 1m18.695s benchmark, but then triggered a virtual safety car.

Conditions were clearly difficult as Bottas, Vettel and Marcus Ericsson all had early spins at different parts on the circuit before Brendon Hartley and Romain Grosjean took trips through the Turn 4 gravel.

They were fortunate to emerge unscathed, particularly Hartley, whose Toro Rosso skated right up to the edge of a barrier on the outside of the gravel, but Ricciardo was not so lucky.

The Red Bull driver had a wobble entering the same corner and took to the gravel, running straight across and nudging the barrier hard enough to break the front left.

When the virtual safety car finished, Bottas improved twice on a new set of soft tyres and got down to a 1m18.411s before another Turn 10 moment, this time locking up and running deep after encountering traffic.

Further incidents ensued as drivers grappled with the tricky circuit, with both Williams drivers falling foul in quick succession.

Reserve driver Robert Kubica's first FP1 outing of the year in place of Sergey Sirotkin featured a lethargic spin at Turn 13, before Lance Stroll posted a personal best first sector then promptly beached his car in the Turn 5 gravel.

A few minutes before that off, Stroll had complained over the radio that it was "unbelievable how bad the balance is, I just want a little bit of understeer".

That caused a second virtual safety car and when that ended, Bottas improved his benchmark yet again.

Bottas set new best times in all three sectors to post a 1m18.148s, while Hamilton did not improve after switching to mediums.

Vettel and teammate Kimi Raikkonen hauled themselves to third and fourth in the final half an hour, before Verstappen got between the Ferraris in a Red Bull with a significant sidepod update.

McLaren earned best-of-the-rest honours as it debuted a striking new nose and updated bargeboards, with Fernando Alonso 1.7s off the pace.

That shuffled Ricciardo to seventh, with Romain Grosjean, Stoffel Vandoorne and Pierre Gasly completing the top 10.

Vandoorne's McLaren has a new Renault energy store fitted for this weekend, which means another change this year will result in a grid penalty.

ClaDriverChassisEngineLapsTimeGap
1 finland Valtteri Bottas  Mercedes Mercedes 32 1'18.148  
2 united_kingdom Lewis Hamilton  Mercedes Mercedes 22 1'18.997 0.849
3 germany Sebastian Vettel  Ferrari Ferrari 24 1'19.098 0.950
4 netherlands Max Verstappen  Red Bull TAG 26 1'19.187 1.039
5 finland Kimi Raikkonen  Ferrari Ferrari 19 1'19.499 1.351
6 spain Fernando Alonso  McLaren Renault 26 1'19.858 1.710
7 australia Daniel Ricciardo  Red Bull TAG 11 1'19.871 1.723
8 france Romain Grosjean  Haas Ferrari 24 1'19.906 1.758
9 belgium Stoffel Vandoorne  McLaren Renault 28 1'20.083 1.935
10 france Pierre Gasly  Toro Rosso Honda 29 1'20.508 2.360
11 denmark Kevin Magnussen  Haas Ferrari 28 1'20.637 2.489
12 monaco Charles Leclerc  Sauber Ferrari 23 1'20.665 2.517
13 mexico Sergio Perez  Force India Mercedes 36 1'20.924 2.776
14 sweden Marcus Ericsson  Sauber Ferrari 18 1'20.984 2.836
15 spain Carlos Sainz  Renault Renault 28 1'21.053 2.905
16 france Esteban Ocon  Force India Mercedes 27 1'21.144 2.996
17 germany Nico Hulkenberg  Renault Renault 26 1'21.159 3.011
18 new_zealand Brendon Hartley  Toro Rosso Honda 28 1'21.373 3.225
19 poland Robert Kubica  Williams Mercedes 24 1'21.510 3.362
20 canada Lance Stroll  Williams Mercedes 15 1'22.756 4.608

 

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About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Spanish GP
Location Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya
Author Scott Mitchell
Article type Practice report